Its a funny place the maternity ward at a hospital. As a 'new' dad all the nurses keep telling me to get some rest, make sure I'm eating and taking care of myself as well. 'I'm good' I always reply.
All I hear in the middle of the night as I write this is the soft bustle of the nurse's station beyond the door. The cooing of babies as they dream, the soft breathing of my wife. The hum of the HVAC, thinking is it too hot in here? Now is it too cold? The ticking of the ancient, institutional clock in our room. How long until they need to eat again? When did they pop last? When did I pop last?
'Get some sleep' they say. How am I expected to sleep when my mind is racing? All I can think about is the future. While I consider myself a pretty damn good dad I still have questions and fears running through my head. Fueled by lack of sleep and an abundance of caffine, my mind races along side my heart.
I stand watch. Here in the dark, in the least comfy chair of my life, in 3 day old clothes, bad breath, a neck beard that would make hipsters scoff. I wonder, how am I supposed to sleep. My beautiful wife sleeping, as her body recovers, beside me. My two amazing new treasures bundled up as little burritos of love in front of me. There is no time for sleep. It is my job to stand watch. To protect them. Now and always.
I stand watch. To protect them from the cold, from hunger, from monsters, real and imaginary. Protect their bodies, their hearts and their minds. Protect their souls, their wonder and their dreams. It's my job to protect them. A job I take seriously. More seriously than any other responsibility I have ever accepted.
So to all the nurses in all the materity wards, I say this to you. Thank you for your concern. Thank you for the work you do. Form you I've learned that it is not my sole responsiblity to keep them safe. It is shared.
I stand watch.